Ask A Neuroscientist

Neuroscientists at Washington University in St. Louis answer some of the frequently asked questions by Brain Discovery’s 4th-6th grade students.


  1. Is it possible to find out the causes of Major depressive disorder in a particular person by examining the brain during a craniotomy?

  2. STRESS.
    For some people, their automated response is to overeat (like me), hence weight gain. For some people, their automated response is to stop eating (several people I know), and therefore weight loss. Same way, under stress, some people feel a desperate need to claw for attention (overeaters like me), while some clamp down, isolate, and stop interacting with the world altogether (the same people I know who also stop eating).
    I often wonder why stress response is different in different people. Are different secretions are released in the brain for the same stimulus? Why is there this stark difference?
    I am sure someone somewhere has studied this. I am looking for the comparative research on the root cause/ neuroscience. Can’t find any good info, only popscience articles that don’t really explain anything beyond trying to sound credible by throwing names of hormones/ chemicals: Leptin, Cortisol, Adrenaline, Neuropeptide Y, Cholecystokinin (CCK), etc., no firm reasoning provided for the difference in behaviors.
    Do you know of any research on this? I’ve been quite curious about this difference in response for quite a while.

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